Let’s talk about Eddie Murphy.
My husband and I decided to watch Boomerang last night.
You know, the iconic romantic comedy based on the complicated love life of Marcus Graham. Marcus was a Black male marketing executive at Lady Eloise, a fragrance company named after a character played by the great Eartha Kitt.
We both grew up watching Boomerang, and of course as an adult, the experience is much different than it was when I first saw it when it was released in 1992. Of course we appreciate the adult comedy and we can relate the story line now that we are in our mid thirties.
But, what we found most compelling was the number of professional African American women represented at Lady Eloise. The company was filled with melanated women who walked the floors of the company with grace and class.
Grace Jones character, Strangè, may be the exception to this. But we can appreciate her as well. Strangè served as the poster girl for the 1990’s woman. She was sexually liberated, unapologetic, and she was paid big bucks for her perfume line. Not to mention she was hilarious!
Eddie Murphy has held creative control over his films for years. We were reminded this weekend just how much he positively impacted Black cinema, especially in the 80’s and 90’s. Boomerang taught us the power of marketing. It taught us that Black people can and have owned Black companies.
And this is just one example.
Long before Wakanda, there was Zamunda. Coming to America will always be one of the best films every made.
Zamunda was Black royalty, Black power, and Black excellence. Though Prince Akeem decided to come to America to find his bride, a woman in Zamunda was groomed since birth to be a Queen. Now of course we can argue that she possessed no thoughts of her own and was only taught to serve her King. I get that. But the fact remains that women were groomed for royalty in this film.
I appreciate that.
And Eddie Murphy depicted this positive image in 1989. Long before Marvel and Disney decided to put in on the big screen.
But, more than anything, I appreciate Eddie Murphy’s focus on the land, a custom, a culture, and a great level of pride, built and maintained by African people.
And let’s not forget Harlem Nights. When I think of this movie, I think of Black ownership.
Club Sugar Ray was a place that melanated people could feel safe, circulate their own dollars, and enjoy the company of one another (in more ways than one) in the 1930’s Jim Crow era.
Harlem Nights was not only a comedy, It was a representation of old school Black kinship. The characters argued, physically fought each other, shot one another in the foot, and still stood by each other in the end. Especially when it came time to confront their oppressors.
I appreciate Eddie Murphy.
Not only for his talent, his ability to play multiple characters in one film, but for his intentions to represent the culture well. He reminded us through these films of our heritage, our ability to own, and our regal bloodline.
Shout out to Eddie Murphy! Thank you for your contribution to Black film.
Dr. Lauren Meeks
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Confessions Of A Melanated Queen
Confessions of A Melanated Queen: Complexities of the Modern Black Woman, is comprised of controversial and thought-provoking commentary related to life, marriage, and family, through the lens of a millennial African American woman